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Full text of "Tubman School 1874-1973"

R.C.H. 
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TUBMAN SCHOOL 

RICHMOND COUNTY 
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA 
I874 - I973 

A BRIEF HISTORY 



COMPILED BY: 
MARY A. BRANCH 
MARY ANN BRITT 

1973 



REESE LIBRARY AUGUSTA COLLEGE 
R.C.H. LD7501.T8 B7x 
Branch. Mary A. comp. 010105 004 

Tubman School, Richmond County 



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TUBMAN SCHOOL 
RICHMOND COUNTY 
AUGUSTA, GEORGIA 

1874 - 1973 
A BRIEF HISTORY 



Compiled By: 
Mary A. Branch 
Mary Ann Britt 

1973 



Copyright <c} 1973 by Mary A. Branch 
Copyright n(c) 1973 by Mary Ann Britt 



DEDICATION 



This Tubman history is dedicated to those 
Augusta area educators who, in their giving of 
self and knowledge, have so exemplified the spirit 
of education as found in the annals of the Tubman 
School. 




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SCHOOL SONG 



"BLACK AND GOLD" 



Now we'll give a cheer for Tubman, 
For the school we love the most! 
Evermore we sing her praises, 
And her name shall be our boast. 
To the top we'll raise her colors, 
And her standards ever hold. 
Then let us give a rousing cheer 
For the Tubman black and gold. 
Then let us give a rousing cheer 
For the Tubman black and gold. 



Chorus 



So with voices loud and strong, 

To her name we raise a song, 

For to her our hearts belong, 

With a love untold. 

Then we'll cheer for Tubman High! 

May her spirit never die, 

Victorious may fly 

Dear old black and gold. 



Velma Bell 
Class of 1925 



Tune: "They All Love Jack" 
School Colors: Black and Gold 



Emily Harvie Thomas Tubman 
March 21, 1794— June 9, 1885 

Emily Harvie Thomas, daughter of Ann Chiles and 
Edmund Pendleton Thomas, was born in Ashland, Hanover County, 
Virginia. Following the death of her father when she was but 
nine years old, Emily became the ward of Henry Clay. 

Little is known of her early life, but in 1818 she 
traveled from Frankfort, Kentucky, at that time her home, to 
visit her mother's cousins, Colonel and Mrs. Nicholas Ware and 
their niece, Mary Ariuton Ware, who lived in Augusta, Georgia. 
During her visit, she met an Englishman, Richard C. Tubman, a 
wealthy planter and merchant, whom she married later that year. 

Mrs. Tubman fitted easily into Augusta social life and 
was known for her graciousness and understanding. When the 
Marquis de Lafayette visited Augusta in 1825, Mrs. Tubman was 
in charge of arrangements at the Planter's Hotel and was honored 
to lead the minuet at the evening's festivities with the Marquis. 

Following the death of her husband in 1836, Emily was 
faced with finding a way of carrying out a portion of her husband's 
will. In it he had stated the desire to free his slaves with the 
exception of only a few household servants. At this time, however, 
Georgia laws were very strict concerning the emancipation of slaves, 



and the Emancipation Proclamation was yet to be signed in 1862. 

Yet, in 1844 Emily called her slaves together and told 
them about a country being established in west Africa for 
freed slaves— Liberia. She gave them the choice of freedom in 
Liberia or remaining with her. For the sixty-nine who chose 
freedom, she furnished a ship from Baltimore and a fund to help 
them establish homes and to provide supplies for them. 

Emily Tubman's influence in Liberia can still be found. 
The name of one community is Tubmantown, and from 1943 until his 
death on July 23, 1971, the president of Liberia was William 
Vaccanarat Shadrach Tubman, a grandson of William Shadrach and 
Sylvia Ann Elizabeth Tubman, two of the freed Tubman slaves. 

Mrs. Tubman provided food, clothes, and shelter for those 
slaves who chose to remain with her until they were able to 
establish themselves. 

Following her husband's death, Emily Tubman devoted her 
efforts toward the support of the Disciples of Christ Church 
under the leadership of Alexander Campbell, and through this 
religious interest she played an important part in the estab- 
lishment of the First Christian Church and the Central Christian 
Church in Augusta. 

Although Emily Tubman used her financial resources to 
further many religious causes, she also used these resources in 



the interest of education. In 1874 at the age of eighty, Mrs. 
Tubman purchased the Christian Church building located on the 
700 block of Reynolds Street in Augusta near the Cotton Exchange 
and donated it to the Richmond County Board of Education for the 
purpose of establishing a public high school for girls. Prior 
to this, the first free girls' school in Augusta was operated 
by Mr. Ben Neely in a few rented rooms on Broad Street. Mr. 
Neely would become the first principal of the new school— 
Tubman High School for girls. 

Upon her death in 1885, Emily Tubman was honored with the 
placing of a marble tablet in the First Christian Church of 
Augusta. It bears her name and the inscription: ^i Monumentum 
Quoeria Circumspice (If you seek her monument, look .around) . 
Mrs. Tubman was buried in the family cemetery, Frankfort, 
Kentucky, near the grave of Daniel Boone. 




Ill RevnoU* 5+y-eef 



•7 



TUBMAN SCHOOL 
1874-1918 

Established in 1874 in the old Christian Church building 
on the 700 block of Reynolds Street, Tubman High School for 
girls graduated its first class, consisting of six girls, in 
1877. According to reports, the address was given by Mr. John 
S. Davidson and graduates wore calico dresses. 

The first faculty consisted of one male and one female, 
and the course of study for the three-year program was as follows; 

First Year ; arithmetic, spelling and defining, Latin, 

French, rhetoric, natural philosophy, reading, and 

history. 

Second Year ; arithmetic, algebra, synonyms, Latin, 

French, natural philosophy, physical geography, penman*- 

ship, reading, and history. 

Third Year ; algebra, Latin, French, English literature, 

physical geography, chemistry, astronomy, penmanship, 

reading, and history. 

Students chose between Latin and French. Calisthenics was 
required twice a week, and girls were allowed to remove bustles 
and corsets for public exhibitions. This was the only freedom 
of movement and display of form allowed. 

The school seems to have been popular from the beginning. 



8 



Class Member 
School 

Class Member 
School 



Annual commencements were held in the "Grand Opera House" 
located on the northeast corner of Eighth and Green Streets with 
full, front-page coverage being given the event in the local 
newspapers. 

A typical commencement program included the following: 

Class Motto: "Live to Learn, Learn to Live" 

Welcome Song School 

Salutatory 

Recitation 

Song 

Class History 

Song 

Valedictory 

Intermission 

Delivery of Diplomas 

Announcement of Honors 

Address 

Benediction 

In the early days of Tubman's history women's education was 
still not considered of great importance; however, in 1892 a fourth 
year of study was added to the curriculum. It consisted of higher 
mathematics, history, literature, and science. At this time, the 
Board hired a physical culture teacher to visit the school once 
a week in order to "draw the blood away from the brain and into 
the vital organs and limbs." 



Local Notable 



Early Board reports show the cost of education to be 
approximately $1.05 per pupil per month. 

Although the early building remained largely intact, it 
was enlarged twice, once for the purpose of adding a course in 
cooking or domestic science. This course was scoffed at as largely 
unnecessary by the majority of the public. 

According to the records of Dr. Lawton B. Evans, super- 
intendent of Richmond County schools for over fifty years, there 
were 100 girls enrolled in Tubman in 1882. The principal, who 
had succeeded Mr. Ben Neely in 1880, was the Reverend Mr. William 
S. Bean. He received a salary of $1200 for eight months' service, 
and the other teacher, Mrs. Sarah Adams McWhorter, received $800. 

In 1903 Professor Thomas Harry Garrett, principal of the 
Woodlawn Grammar School, was designated principal of Tubman High 
School upon the death of Principal John Neely. Mr. Neely had 
been principal, succeeding Mr. Bean, from 1883 until his death. 
His brother, Ben Neely, had been Tubman's first principal. Mr. 
Garrett was to hold the longest tenure as a Tubman principal, 
for he held this position until 1945 when he retired as principal 
emeritus. 

As early as 1911 Mr. Garrett had written a lengthy article 
in the Augusta papers citing the need for a new school to house 
the Tubman High School students, numbering about 200 at that time. 
He stated that it was then impractical to accept more students, 
since some classes had as many as 86 students in them. 



10 



Early in 1913 it was announced that a lot had been 
purchased for the erection of a new school, and Professor 
Garrett expressed his hopes that the new school would be 
completed by the end of the year. However, because of con- 
tinuing conflicts over the real need for the new school, Mr. 
Garrett's dream was not fulfilled immediately. 

Again, in 1915, Mr. Garrett in a letter to the editor 
pointed out the dangers facing students attending Tubman, still 
located on Cotton Row. He said that the most important menace 
was the danger of fire and the lack of accessible exits because 
of the bales of cotton blocking the streets surrounding the 
school. 

Then, Fate, which seemingly dealt a tremendous blow to 
Augusta's business and residential district on the night of 
March 22, 1916, with the Great Augusta Fire, stepped to the aid 
of Augusta's girls and Professor Garrett's cause with the total 
destruction of Tubman High School on Reynolds Street. 

Never had Augusta known such total destruction; however, 
on March 27, 1916, the students of Tubman High School held their 
first meeting following the fire in the Sunday School Building, 
also known as the Telfair Building, of the First Presbyterian 
Church located on Telfair Street. The assembly that morning 
consisted of the following program: 

Psalm 47 Mr. Garrett 

Prayer School 

Welcome Mr. Garrett 



11 



, "America" School 

Talk Dr. Sevier 

Talk Miss Flisch 

Talk Mr. C. E. Whitney 

Thanks from representatives of each class for 
use of the building: 

Senior Emily Weigle 

Junior Adelaide Pund 

Sophomore A Miriam Gerald 

Sophomore B Virginia Burum 

Freshman A Marion Battle 

Freshman B Katherine Hagler 

During the nearly two years before the new Tubman was 
opened, this church building and other buildings in the 
vicinity served as classrooms for Tubman students. 

Work was soon begun on the new school to be located at 
1740 Walton Way near the center of population at that time. 
The site for the new school had been known as the Scheutzen 
Platz, a piece of property owned by the German Society of 
Augusta and used for a clubhouse, beer garden, and shooting 
place. This land was purchased for $20,000 by the Board of 
Education. Shortly after the fire a school bond for $100,000 
was passed to build the new school. This bond was the first 
school bond passed by Augustans. 

The new building was made of cream-colored, pressed brick 
to accomodate 600 girls. In February, 1918, 300 girls moved 
into the new school, and in May, 1918, formal dedication was 
held. 

12 







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o 



TUBMAN SCHOOL 
1918-1973 

The new Tubman High School was one of the most modern 
schools in the South. There was an auditorium to seat almost 
700, a library, a laboratory, a lunchroom, and a principal's 
office. Surely, this building would adequately serve the 
community's needs for many years. Nevertheless, by 1932, the 
student body had increased to 900, a three-storied wing had 
been added to the main building, and a new lunchroom had been 
built behind the school. Even objectors to the building of 
the new school had to admit that they had "outguessed the 
ability to fill the building with students by ninety-seven 
years." By 1939 the school housed nearly 1200 students. 

With the increase in students, Tubman's reputation as 
one of the finest educational facilities in the South was on 
the upswing also. No other school could begin to compete with 
this school in the Augusta area. It was during the high school 
years of Tubman after 1918 that traditions often associated with 
the school were begun. No graduate of the Tubman of those years 
can forget Maids and a Man , the school yearbook, which received 
its title because Mr. Garrett was usually the sole male at 
Tubman. Nor can one forget Minerva, the statue of the Greek 
goddess of wisdom, who for many years took her place at Tubman's 
entrance to guard, protect, and inspire her charges to reach for 
greater heights. Now, she stands in some forgotten closet, a 

14 



victim of time and change. During this time, Tubman girls 
attended daily chapel exercises where they sang "The Black 
and Gold" and listened to the strains of "The Tubman High 
School March." 

Students came from surrounding counties and South Carolina 
to board in Augusta homes in order to attend Tubman. Others 
commuted daily by train and other means of travel from such 
nearby communities as Aiken and Grovetown. 

In 1945, Tubman was dealt a blow with the forced retirement 
of T. Harry Garrett, its much beloved principal. Elected as his 
successor was Mr. Lamar Woodward who remained principal until 1951. 

In 1951, because of the trends of the times and the need for 
additional schools in Richmond County, a bitterly protested change 
was necessitated in Tubman High School. At this time the Board 
of Education decided to make the Academy of Richmond County a 
coeducational high school and to make Tubman a coeducational 
junior high, consisting of grades eight through ten. 

This change marked the end of an era for Augusta girls. 
No longer would they attend Tubman High School to receive their 
diplomas. Other junior highs would soon be built to compete 
with Tubman. A shop wing was added to provide classes in wood, 
metal, and drafting for the new male students. 

In 1951, Mr. D. K. McKenzie became principal. During his 
tenure was published the school newspaper, the Tubman Times . 
When Mr. McKenzie left in 1961, Dr. C. D. Sheley became principal. 

Under Dr. Sheley new equipment was purchased for the shop, 
science, and home economics departments. Perhaps the most 

15 



significant aspect of this period was the integration of Tubman 
in 1961 with approximately 10% Negro students. At the end of 
Dr. Sheley's principal ship at Tubman in 1970 came another 
change— the loss of the tenth grade. 

Mr. John P. Strelec was principal from 1970-1972 and the 
present principal is Mr. Albert A. Greenlee, the school's first 
black principal. The student population has dropped to about 
600 at present with approximately one half black and one half 
white total enrollment. 

Over the years Tubman has seen many changes. None perhaps 
was as important as its loss of high school status. Now Tubman 
consists of girls, boys; blacks, whites; academic courses, 
pre-vocational courses. Its faculty consists of almost forty 
members in a sixty /forty, white /black ratio. 

Tubman's future is unknown, but for those who are a part 
of its tradition, Tubman will never be forgotten. It will 
always stand for excellence in education for those who have been 
a part. 



16 



In the Tubman tradition— 



What do you remember? 
Maids and a Man 
One faculty room 
10' X 10» principal's office 
"Quiet in the Halls!" 
Driver's Ed. 
Student Patrol 
Class pins— rings 
Graduation night 
Cloak rooms 
Study halls 1 & 2 
Middy blouses 
Gym on the stage 
Minerva 
Exemptions 
Field Days 

White graduation dresses 
The Honor League 
Rebel Scene 
"The Break" 
Class Prophecies 
Tubman Times 
French Mardi Gras 
Essay contests 



Red roses at graduation 

Bloomers 

Boys at the back fence 

May Festivals 

Class Histories 

Class days 

Sub-freshmen 

Lunchroom under the stage 

Jr.-Sr. banquets 

9:00-2:10 school days 

Kid days 

Demerits 

Last Wills 

Black stockings 

Tubman High School March 

Detention Hall 

Morning Chapels 

Valedictories 

Single file on the stairs 

One-room library 

Trees in the backyard 

Student-owned books 

Roman banquets and weddings 



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18 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

Deen, Edith, Great Women of the Christian Faith , 
Harper and Brothers Publishers, New York, 1959. 

Evans, Lawton B., Personal Memoirs as Superintendent . 

Garrett, T. Harry, "Tubman High School for Girls," 
Southern Association Quarterly , November, 1937 

Garrett, T. Harry, Personal records and scrapbooks. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 

We express our gratitude to the following for their help 
in compiling the information in this booklet: Tubman Historical 
Society, Augusta-Richmond County Public Library, Augusta 
Vocational School, Miss Bertha Carswell and the Tubman School 
library files, Mrs. Bess Neely Plumb Conlon, Mr. Harvey M. 
Duncan, Mrs. Freddie Fortune, Mr. D. K. McKenzie, Dr. C. D. 
Sheley, Mr. John P. Strelec, and Mrs. Ruth M. Williams. 

Artist: Mrs. Elaine Branch Carter. 



19